of us talk to our cars and plants. Do you?
Have you ever…
Wondered how a plant felt?
drawn to a certain plant in a garden center?
had to grow roses or apples, though you didn't know why?
"hello" to a tree by touching or hugging it?
loving thoughts to a plant as you watered it?
Then you've already experienced a kinship with plants. Humans
have experienced these sorts of connections before there was
a language to speak of them. Each of us has connected with plants
when we stop to smell the roses or walk in the woods, if even
for a half second; even if we aren't aware of it.
plants will teach anyone who is interested.
If you have the interest, follow up on it and see for yourself."
~~ Eliot Cowan, author
of the book, "Plant Spirit Medicine" ~~
with plants is a come-as-you-are exercise. You don't have to
be anything other than who you are right now to begin. (I even
list a few sample questions later on that you can use). There
are no impossible rules or by-the-book techniques to follow.
What's more, each one of us has the ability to communicate with
other species. Yes, you can do this, and so can your best friend.
It's not a special gift that's been designated to a select few.
you invest the time in learning how to communicate with plants--whether
it's an orchid, broccoli plant, rose bush, or giant redwood--you
will, without a doubt, enhance your life with new insights,
appreciation, and understanding.
with plants is a two-way street that occurs on a level playing
field. No one has the upper hand. It's just two individuals
chatting back and forth. All you need is a genuine curiosity
and a sense of adventure. The rewards are a greater ability
to pay attention to life, a stronger kinship with the natural
world, and a greater capacity to love.
The following steps are presented as a way for you to get your
feet wet. They are also a good reference to refer back to. Once
you become more comfortable with the idea of communicating with
another species (these techniques, by the way, apply to all
things), let your instinctive wisdom guide you. You might even
find yourself developing your own method, which is great. Discover
what works best for you. Relax, trust, and don't try too hard.
Like developing any talent or skill, regular practice is the
key. I suggest keeping a journal nearby to jot down notes.
I speak for all plants. We are pleased and honored
that you wish to connect so deeply with us and share your energy
and your friendship. Thank you so much for that gift.
Please enjoy your visit. We are always happy to hear from you."
~~ Georgiane, a parlor
get started, the first thing you need to do is . . .
and center yourself
Becoming grounded and centered helps you get situated. It's
like going to the theatre. You find your seat and settle in
for the evening's performance. So find a quiet space that's
relatively free from distractions. (Turn off the phone!) Sit
in a comfortable position on a chair or sofa, or cross-legged
on the floor. Visualize yourself connected to the earth by imagining
a line, beam of light, or cone of energy above you. See it flowing
through your body and down through your feet into the earth,
like plant roots extending outward. Get the feeling of being
settled in, centered and balanced--left and right, forwards
and backwards, up and down.
No, you don't have to empty your mind
one with a busy life can or should try to empty the mind, whatever
that means," says Lorin Roche, PhD, author of "Meditation
Made Easy." Our minds are in constant state of chatter,
and trying to clear it is an unrealistic task. It would be like
trying NOT to think of a pink elephant. The idea here is to
encourage, and allow for, moments of inner quiet and peace.
I'm not suggesting you try to stop thinking. You're establishing
a two-way dialogue here, and thinking is an important part of
this kind of communication.
you sit quietly, you may notice all sorts of thoughts (work,
errands, grocery lists--you name it) battling for your attention.
This is normal. It's also normal to become irritated or try
to ignore these seemingly unruly thoughts altogether as if they
didn't exist. The best way to deal with them as they pop unannounced
into your consciousness is to simply acknowledge their presence
and let them move on, like frames in a movie. In time, the quiet
moments will increase, allowing you to be more receptive to
what the plant is sharing with you. Be patient with your efforts.
Even if you're only able to experience a sense of peace and
calm for just a few moments at first, it's a step in the right
next step involves breathing with awareness, which simply means
paying attention to the flow of air in and out of your body
as you breathe. Inhale and exhale gently and fully from your
lower abdomen, not your upper chest, to allow for complete breaths.
Pay attention as you breathe in and breathe out. Breathing with
awareness also helps you focus on something besides your chatty,
go of expectations and outcomes
not to carry a pre-conceived idea or plan of what might happen
during your conversation. Life doesn't unfold that way anyway;
so holding on to an agenda will only leave you disappointed.
Simply allow things to occur and accept them without judgment.
This comes with practice and increased trust. Stay in the present
moment and don't be concerned about things you've heard or read
about. Something always happens during one-on-one communications,
though it might occur on a level or in such a way that you don't
recognize it. At least, not yet.
focused means to maintain a strong and clear intention about
what you're doing.
ahead and get the plant's attention
it's time to let the plant know you'd like to converse with
it. This simple act is a little like knocking on a friend's
door before coming in for a cup of coffee and a chat. In this
case, you silently state his, her, or its name (or whatever
feels right to call it) three times.
Introduce yourself and state your purpose
is easy to do. Just introduce yourself as if you were meeting
someone for the first time. Then state your purpose. Here's
an example: "Hello fern. My name is Marion. I'd like to
ask you a few questions." Now visualize your words moving
toward the plant, across the space between you and the plant.
See your message gently lighting on its leaves or branches.
Start asking questions
this point, you might be wondering, "What kind of questions
should I ask?" Here are some examples to get the juices
• How are you?
• Please tell me about yourself.
• What do you need to be healthier?
• Am I watering you too much?
• What kind of nourishment (fertilizer) do you prefer?
• Is pruning good for you? If so, how should I do it?
• What kind of music do you like?
• What should I do to get rid of _______ (pests)?
• What other things would you like to tell me?
Now, just send your questions, one at a time, over to the plant
as I described above, and...
Relax into receiving the plant's message
responses you receive may come in a variety of forms, such as
visual images, auditory messages in the form of words, whole
sentences, or sounds, feelings or sensations in your body, smells,
tastes, and sudden "knowings," which I call ah--HAH's!
of my first experiences with sending and receiving messages
occurred during an introductory "Communicating with Plants"
workshop. In the beginning we practiced sending and receiving
messages to each other. Here's what happened to me: One of participants
(the sender) was asked to think of three yellow objects and
write them down.
concentrating a few moments, he mentally "sent" the
images to me. I relaxed into a receiving mode as I'd just been
taught, and after a few moments I saw in my mind's eye a yellow
daffodil, a yellow ribbon waving like a banner, and the sun.
The sender and I compared notes and to my surprise (and delight!)
I "got" exactly what he'd sent. It was the beginning
of a wonderful journey . . .
"I walked up to one tree and
put my hands against its bark,
congratulating it on its courage, trying to draw on its strength.
The tree was warm under my hands.
I swear I felt it communicating back to me,
with its own brand of comfort and compassion...
It had things to teach me. I had come to believe that
without any sense of false modesty."
~~ Martha Beck ~~
on a conversation
this point, continue sending questions and listening for the
answers. Go back and forth, as if you were talking with another
person. And don't be surprised if you're asked a question! With
practice, your dialogues will flow naturally and effortlessly.
you're finished talking...
you're done asking questions or when you feel like the conversation
has reached an end, be sure to give thanks. Being grateful is
an important part of acknowledging all special events in your
life. You don't need to be formal or stiff. A simple and loving
"thank you" is all you need to show your appreciation.
your journey be of learning, growth, and love.
note from Marion: If you're not quite sure if you want to go
through these steps, then here's a simple way to become more
aware of nature around you. When you go for a walk, for example,
acknowledge trees and flowers simply by saying "Hello."
It sounds so simple, but it is very effective.]
Fearless Weeder for PlanTea,
and Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul
reading and resources:
Growing Myself--A Spiritual Journey Through Gardening,
by Judith Handelsman.
How gardening can clean the layers of soot and grime off your
intuition, can help you listen better to that intuition and
act on it. Consider Handelsman the facilitator of a seminar
that will force you to slow down, grow up, fine-tune and take
responsibility.--The Los Angeles Times
Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher
Bird, authors of Secrets of the Soil.
Assisi International Animal Institute.
Assisi International Animal Institute is a non-profit, nondenominational
organization dedicated to the promotion of the well-being of
nonhuman animals. We do so through our educational programs,
through consciousness raising and through rehabilitation. Their
work emphasizes how communcations with nonhuman animals can
promote healthy, stronger relationships, and wonderful learning
opportunities. Their newsletters contain beautiful and inspirational
stories resulting from human-to-animal communications. For more
info, to join, or if you need to communicate with YOUR animal
(pet): PO Box 10166, Oakland, CA 94610-0166; Phone: 510-569-6123;
wish to promote compassion and reverence for all life. To
Hear the Angels Sing by Dorothy Maclean, co-founder of
Findhorn. Lorian Press, 1984.
with Nature by Michael J. Roads. Published by H J Kramer,
Inc., Tiburon, CA. ISBN 0-915811-06-5.
As If the God In All Life Mattered, by Machaelle Small
Wright. Published by Perelandra. ISBN 0-9617713-0-5.